Chronic prostatitis is a chronic infection of the prostate, a male gland located in the pelvis. It should be mentioned that the majority of men suffering from chronic prostatitis do not have infection of the gland but they only feel chronic pelvic pain.
When we say chronic prostatitis we immediately think of a chronic infection caused by bacteria. However, even though this is partially true, scientists have recently discovered that in some men suffering from chronic prostatitis there is actually no inflammation or bacteria. In such cases patients are actually suffering from chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Chronic pelvic pain syndrome represents chronic prostatitis category III and is definitely the most frequent form of chronic inflammation of the prostate.
What Are Characteristics of Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome?
Patients suffering from chronic pelvic pain syndrome usually complain about generalized pelvic pain, urinary problems and sexual dysfunction. The process of urination is painful, there is an urge to urinate frequently and in some cases men complain about inhibited urination. The very location of the pain varies and it can occur between the testicles and anus (the perineum), in the penis, lower back of even lower abdomen. The condition can be very debilitating and interfere with every day activities, relationships and, if it lasts long enough, some men may even develop depression.What Are Causes of Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome?
The exact cause of chronic pelvic pain syndrome remains unknown. Unlike chronic bacterial prostatitis, in which bacteria are responsible for the inflammation of the prostate, in case of chronic pelvic pain syndrome there are no infective agents. There may be inflammation of the gland, but it can also be absent.
One of the theories regarding chronic pelvic pain syndrome is that the pain develops as a consequence of tightness throughout the pelvis and the back. Furthermore, the pain may originate from contracture of smooth muscles of the bladder and this is also a cause of frequent and painful urination. In some people stress is a major contributor and increases all symptoms of the disease.
Treatment for Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome
Doctors do not prescribe antibiotics for chronic pelvic pain syndrome since the inflammation (if there is any) is not caused by bacteria, hence antibiotics would be practically ineffective against any of the symptoms and signs of the disease. Patients can, on the other hand, benefit from manual therapies, massage and even acupuncture.
Some of the most commonly prescribed medications in such patients are analgesics, bladder analgesic medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and, in severely painful cases, patients are administered opoids. Furthermore, discomfort can be brought under control with alpha blockers, anticonvulsants and antidepressants. Physical therapy teaches patients to apply heat, pressure or perform massage of the painful area. Patients are also taught special exercises. And finally, in some cases the symptoms may withdraw with the assistance of biofeedback training and nerve stimulators.